Thursday, 29 December 2016

December's Newsletter.

Oh December! It has been an avalanche of Christmas cards, the end of year round up and the obligatory festive knits.

This year wearing festive knits has been more than just a passion of ours but also the opportunity to help support the vital work of Save the Children.  We were very pleased to have donated £118 to Save the Children UK for their Christmas Jumper Day.  

Now the last posting dates have gone, the Christmas cards are out and the mince pies are stocked up in the cupboard, we can look back on what an exciting month December was for us all.

A highlight  was Treesa Green making her first appearance at a local school.  She wandered straight out of the woods and ended up at Westfield Primary who were in need of more greenery.  She spent the day there helping the pupils to plant saplings and teaching them about how trees benefit the environment - you can read more about her day here.  This timed really well with some of the work being done by our partners at the Woodland Trust for National Tree Week.

(And just in case you missed it and need a little more incentive, here are five reasons to plant a tree).

Another good story in the local press; we presented Midsomer Norton RFC Under 14s  with the first new set set of shirts in the team’s history.

The Coach, David Williams, said ‘ We are hugely grateful for this generous sponsorship which means so much to the players.

The U-14s team has great potential and has proved this over the last couple of seasons with their growing maturity in their commitment to training and attitude in games. So far this season they have won 6 and lost 2 narrowly losing to a very good Clifton team in the last play of the game in the quarter final of the Bristol cup. .

Next season they will start fundraising for their U-15s tour and hope to challenge strongly in all cups and develop players still further.  It goes without saying that we wish them all the best for the upcoming games!

In print news

The results are in for the Power100, all the details on are on the Print Week website, but importantly, Chairman Dave Broadway made the Power100 list at number 49!  There was also the people's vote where Dave and CEO Bill McFedries did fantastically and were ranked at number 9 and 11 respectively! 

Thank you everyone who voted.

Finally, we have a couple great articles on the blog at the moment about planning your direct mail campaign: 
Is there anything you'd like to learn more about?

It has been a busy month!  Wishing you all a very festive holiday and a happy new year. See you in 2017!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Spam, spam, spam, spam (or 'how a Direct Mail campaign could help your business).

Email ought to be the marketers’ dream - it’s cheap and quick and can produce evidence of efficacy in an instant. However the enthusiasm for its use could ultimately also be responsible for its downfall.

We are all the subject of a marketing message email onslaught, entreaties to buy not only from the brands we love but also the ones with which we have no relationship, strangers we passed in the night as we idly surfed the net.

Like a room full of uninvited party guests they turn up 24/7, swamping the important messages from friends and family and business contacts. The return from holiday provokes an even greater sense of panic as we anticipate the hundreds if not thousands of emails that will need clearing down to allow us to make sense of what happened in the last fortnight.

In our irritation and speed to delete, most emails disappear without trace, the content at best having been skimmed but often never read.  More recently some frustrated users have even reported closing their accounts.

No wonder then that as email cut through reduces, attention returns to the centenarian of Direct Response, Direct Mail.

The direct mail environment is a good one. When you sort through your postal mail, you're probably much more relaxed and feel less put upon. This makes the recipient much more receptive to the message. 
Direct mail gives you the space to tell the whole story. If you tell the story well your reader will be with you until the end.
Direct mail gives you the opportunity to engage with the reader and present all the arguments which will motivate them to take action.
Direct mail also allows you to be truly creative and provides the flexibility to use a variety of inserts.
A more sophisticated data industry also allows you to strip and strand and be very accurate with your targeting, ensuring you achieve the very best value for money.
If you choose a hybrid mail service like CFH Docmail which will allow you to send bespoke mailings to any number of recipients you can test your messaging to find out what works best.
Docmail also enables you to print and post a letter for less than the cost of a second class stamp.
The simple truth is that people like direct mail and the most recent surveys confirm that it’s a truism across all age groups.
In a world where it can often be difficult to hear yourself think, Direct Mail slows the pace down, refocuses the customer’s mind and holds their attention.
To find out more about effective direct mail campaigns at the touch of a button, contact Emma, Rayne or Alicia from our customer service team:
or telephone: number- 01761 409701

Wear a woolly and save lives - use your 'Pullover Power'!

We are really excited to be supporting Save the Children with their Christmas Jumper Day this year.  All our staff (we hope) will be donning their best tasteful festive knits and donating money to this fantastic cause.

From the Save the Children website:

You won’t believe your mince pies when you see how much your pennies and pounds could help to provide.
It gives children from Surkhet district, mid-Western Nepal, pictured, access to after school clubs which help to educate them about the dangers of child marriage.
It could also help us bring essentials like healthcare, education, protection and food to the millions of children around the world who are missing out on the most basic support.
Every year, millions of children around the world die before their fifth birthday from easily preventable diseases like malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia.
Many more are forgotten simply because they were born in the wrong place, or because they are girls, refugees, disabled or from a minority.
We won’t rest until every last child gets the chance to grow up healthy and happy. Your support will help us achieve our goal.

Will you be donning your reindeer jumper for this cause?  We do hope so!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

10 Tips for your Direct Mail Campaign.

Top of Form

The development of email and the rapid adoption of smart phones provide a proliferation of marketing opportunities but direct mail still offers one of the most consistently effective forms of promoting your business and communicating with existing customers.

Customers are human, they like the tangible nature of direct mail.  Unlike emails, direct mail pieces are opened, read and often kept for future reference.  Customers trust the format and feel valued by the sender.

Creating a direct mail campaign is an easy and cost-effective way to maximise the use of your marketing spend and is proven in research to offer the best return on investment.
Mailings should be highly targeted.  Each direct mail campaign can be tailored for a specific audience, from long-time customers to new prospects. Customers should only receive offers or information that resonates.
In addition to targeting customers with relevant campaigns, direct mail pieces can be personalised to include names and other personal information. This attention to detail will increase the impact of your message and uptake.
There are a wide variety of formats and options, from postcards to newsletters, letters to invoices direct mailing is a suitable strategy for almost any application.
The effectiveness of direct mail is easy to measure. To track the success of a direct mail campaign, you only need count the number of enquiries made or coupons redeemed from a given mailing piece. It’s often worth running some test mailings with different messages to see which produce the best results.
Creating and executing a direct mail campaign is also straightforward. Using widely available desktop publishing tools, anyone can produce a direct mail piece.
Docmail allows businesses to design mail pieces, import mailing lists, and have each campaign printed and sent. Direct mail is also cost effective; by using Docmail letters can be printed, enclosed and mailed for less than the price of a second class stamp.
Direct mail supports other marketing efforts. Mailed materials can support brand building through other media.  Creating a cohesive marketing campaign that includes both traditional approaches, like direct mail, and new technology, raises awareness and reaches customers and prospects who prefer more established marketing techniques.

10 Top Tips From a Copywriting Expert

1 . Forget about a headline
Let’s start with the most counter-intuitive copywriting tip of all?
Your headline screams, “I’m selling to you!” so leave it out. You’ll also save yourself hours of head scratching, trying to come up with something original.
Now your prospect dives straight into the body copy and becomes engaged by tip two.
2.. Use a one-word opening sentence
 If you pick the right word, a one-word opening sentence or paragraph (even better) does a number of clever things simultaneously.
It arrests your reader’s attention because there’s nothing else to focus on.
It engages their emotions – crucial to making a sale.
And it forces them to read on, since they need to know what it means.
3. Use Courier
People always want to know why Courier works so well. Why not run an A/B test of your own and find out?
Courier is a simple, highly readable, monospaced typeface with pronounced serifs.
That makes it easy to decode the meaning behind the copy.
Two, it harks back to an earlier, less sophisticated age, when people would write to each other using typewriters. It is authentic.
4. Tell a story
People find stories irresistible. They’re much more interesting than lists of benefits.
Remember, stories have heroes. Heroes are individual human beings.
Your brand or product can never be a hero. That is just wishful thinking.
The hero must face, and overcome, a challenge.
5. Have one response option
Complexity confuses consumers. Just remember that.
Asking people to choose between multiple response channels, payment methods, order packages and delivery options may seem like a good idea.
In tests, the more options you add to your response device, the lower your response rate.
So keep it simple. If you’ve done your work selling the benefits, your prospect will be prepared to do what you ask them to get their hands on your product.
6.  Include practical advice
A long time before the term content marketing was coined, direct mail copywriters were offering useful information in sales letters.
In fact, one of the oldest and most successful headline formulas, “How to…” plays directly on people’s innate desire for help and advice.
7 . Include a testimonial with facts
One that includes numbers.
A testimonial that says, “Your product is great. I love it!” is better than nothing.
But it’s not nearly so powerful as one that says, “Since I started using your product, my energy bills have gone down by 33%. I can’t believe it, but it’s true!”
8. Use sensory language
Humans have five senses (at least).
But often, copywriters, even experienced direct mail copywriters, forget this fact.
Their copy lacks any sensory dimension at all.
It is full of abstract words, like “savings”, “attractive” and “envy”.
If you are marketing a product that saves people money, here’s how to dramatise that fact.
“Imagine, every week, every day, your EnergySavR is literally adding ten pound notes to a big pile in your bank account.”
If you are selling a natural beauty product, why not suggest that,
“As you run your fingertips over your skin you will notice a smoothness, a silkiness you thought you’d lost for ever.”
And for a food processor,
“Take our challenge. Make a chocolate cake in the Mazimixer using our free recipe and offer some to your friends. If you don’t hear their compliments, see the smiles on their faces, and taste for yourself the wonderful lightness of that rich dark chocolately sponge, we’ll give you your money back.”
9. Be chatty
Who said letters had to be formal?
A conversational, even chatty, tone of voice is perfect for engaging your reader’s emotions.
Whether you’re in consumer or business marketing, you’re still writing to a human being.
Human beings like other human beings. So use contractions. Be free with colloquialisms. Use everyday language, especially in b2b copywriting.
10. Start by promising not promoting
Follow these ten tips and watch your response rates rocket.
Your direct mail letter is there to offer a solution to a problem facing your prospect. So a great way to start is by promising them it will go away.
If only they’re prepared to go along with your suggestion.
“Be a star direct mail copywriter” is a promise.
“Book your course place before the end of March and save 50%” is an offer.
Which one looks more powerful to you?

If you want to find out how CFH Docmail could help your business, please contact Emma, Rayne or Alicia from our customer service team:

or telephone: 01761 409701

who will be happy to talk to you

[All images were taken from the Royal Mail Marketreach Research Document.]

Bottom of Form

Personalised Christmas Cards for Docmail Customers.

This year why not create a unique Christmas card for the special person in your life?

We've noticed that lots of people are sending e-cards or Facebook greetings instead of a traditional Christmas card, and then donating the money saved to charity.  So we've created a great service for our Docmail customers which allows you to do both! 

You can either upload your own image or select from our gallery for the perfect photo or illustration. Decide on your message for the front and inside of the card, press the button and your card will be printed, enclosed and posted for only 84p + VAT. All cards are sent by second class post, for first class post just add 29p.  Last posting day for Christmas 19th December 2016.

And most importantly, this year for every card that you purchase we’ll be giving 5p to Cyclists Fighting Cancer ( which provides a unique and highly effective way of helping kids with cancer through activity and exercise.

If you require any help or advice regarding this service, please contact Docmail support via:
Email: or 
Telephone: 01761 409701

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

November's Newsletter.

Oh November, you've gone from crunchy leaves to terrible floods in such a short amount of time.   It has been okay for us office folks, but the Velopost team have had a slightly tougher job braving those floods!

A flooded road with no way through in Bath.

However, soggy news aside, it has been a good month here.  We were exceptionally proud to be able to sponsor the Bath and Bristol Post environmental awards, celebrating some of Bath and Bristol's most environmentally minded businesses.  Our Chairman, Dave Broadway, gave an incredible speech, which you can read the full transcript of here.  Well done to all the winners!

We were very proud to also attend the Oasis Centre, Royal United Hospital, where Dave Broadway was presented with a plaque to celebrate the fact that CFH has raised over £25,000 for the charity.  The event brought together all Partners who have raised over £10,000 for the charity, so the Appeal could say 'thank you' for their support and recognise their commitment.

This week we are busy celebrating Tree Week.  We have a fantastic blogpost put together here outlining the reasons why you should 'plant a tree' (spoiler: there are quite a lot of reasons!) and another post here about our very own Treesa Green, who has spent the day visiting a local school to help plant trees.

If you want to read more about National Tree Week and the pledges being made, you can visit the Tree Charter page here or our partners at the Woodland Trust here.

In other news:

We were very pleased to hear from the Mute Collective who shared a blogpost about using the Velopost Service.

We are currently starting on a grand new project, the Seeds of Change Campaign, putting Green and Charitable actions at the forefront of our business.  Joe Broadway wrote us an article outlining the importance of these'Sustainable Development Goals'.

Want a different way to send your Christmas Cards this year (Bristolians only).

We are busy promoting our Fossil Fuel Free delivery service for Christmas cards – if you’re a Bristol local and want to send your cards, visit our post for our delivery dates and postbox locations.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Treesa Green helps plant trees in local school for National Tree Week.

Pupils from Westfield School in Radstock have stolen a march on Government plans to plant thousands of trees, by joining forces with local hybrid mail company CFH Docmail to start the job in National Tree Week. CFH Docmail provided the saplings and man power as part of their Top Tree Initiative which has already seen the company fund the planting of 100,000 trees across the UK in partnership with The Woodland Trust.

CFH Director Jon Marsh and CFH environmental superhero Treesa Green helped Year 4 children plant a selection of indigenous trees and hedgerow species including hazel, dogwood, beech, hornbeam and weeping copper beech.

Year 4 teacher Josephine Ross gave everyone a lesson on how to plant a sapling.  The children thoroughly enjoyed the session and everyone got good and muddy!

Treesa Green addressed the assembly and talked about the importance of trees to the environment. This session was interactive and the pupils’ clearly demonstrated their interest and understanding of the part that trees play in protecting and improving the areas we live in - in particular how they help with flooding which was very topical given the torrential rains the previous week.

A group of Year 2 children read and shared the Treesa Green Goes To School book which they had practiced in the classroom (Treesa Green tells us she was amazed by their performance)!  Each KS1 child received a copy of the Treesa Green book and CFH Docmail presented 40 wild cherry trees to the members of the afterschool Forestry/Gardening Club!

Deputy Head, Chris Chorley who organised the day of activity said
“we were delighted as part of National Tree Week for Westfield Primary to team up with local business CFH Docmail to plant some trees around the school area. Huge thanks to CFH Docmail for their support and involvement.”

With a special thanks to our supplier of saplings - Alba Trees.

If you would be interested in Treesa Green coming to visit your school (or business or company) to help plant trees and spread the green message, please contact her associate in the business world , Denise White on 

01761 416311 or

Monday, 28 November 2016

Velopost Christmas Services (Bristol's Bike Delivery Service).

Sending Christmas cards locally can feel like a funny arrangement.  Do you drive all the way round the various streets delivering each one by hand, do you hope you will see all the recipients at some point in December, or do you pay the Royal Mail to do it for you?  It can feel rather unenvironmental, adding all those miles to a little Christmas Card.

Well, we might be a little biased, but we think we have the solution!

All Bristolians can send their Christmas cards by bicycle for only 42p per card, fully fossil fuel free!

The last posting date is Monday the 19th December, so you still have plenty of time to get to a postbox.

Our Velopost postboxes can be found at the following locations (and you can purchase the stamps here too)

Tourism Office E Shed
1 Canon’s Rd,
Bristol BS1 5TX

50    Cycles
12-16 Bond Street, Stokes Croft,
Bristol BS1 3LU

15 – 19 Filwood Broadway, Bristol
Avon BS4 1JN

Summerhill Newsagents
210 Stapleton Rd,
Bristol BS5 0NX

Bike UK First Floor
Embassy House, Queen’s Ave,
Bristol BS8 1SB

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Why We Love Trees: 5 Reasons to Get Involved with National Tree Week

At CFH we love trees.

In fact, as anyone who has ever attended an exhibition that we are at will know, we are downright obsessed with trees.

To date, through our Toptree initiative in association with the Woodland Trust, we have planted over one hundred thousand trees throughout the UK and we intend to plant many more than that in the coming years.

So, you may reasonably ask, what with all the trees?
Well what better time to tell you than National Tree Week!

Trees have a huge number of benefits other than just the obvious ones, such as they look pretty and they help to combat climate change, but we can start with the obvious ones and work our way down to some of the weirder ones.

Trees Combat Climate Change

This one is an oldie but a goody. As I’m sure everyone reading this knows tree’s remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and release oxygen. The removal of CO2 from the atmosphere is essential to prevent global warming as Greenhouse Gasses (GHG’s), such as CO2, are significant contributors to the heating up of our planet and an acre of mature trees will absorb the equivalent of roughly twenty-six thousand car miles worth of CO2 every year[1].

Studies have shown that a 33% increase in woodland cover in the UK would result in an abatement of 10% of current GHG emissions by 2050, as well as improving biodiversity and air quality.

However, trees do more than just taking the CO2 out of the air they actually store it in their wood in a process known as carbon sequestration, helping to further reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere.

But that’s not it, trees do one more thing that tackles climate change. They stop us using energy in first place.

Everyone knows trees provide shade in the summer, so it makes sense that they would have a cooling effect on surrounding building as well in the summer months. By breaking up the urban heat island effect, releasing water vapor into the air from their leaves and providing much needed shade trees keep urban areas significantly cooler reducing the need for air conditioning.

What you might find surprising is that trees also save energy in the winter months. By providing shelter and subsequently reducing wind speed trees reduce heat loss from buildings during the winter months resulting in lower energy bills.

Studies have shown that trees can save as much as 10% on annual energy bills.[2]

Trees Make You Healthier

Air pollution is a major cause of respiratory problems, with air pollution contributing to 28,000 deaths in the UK as recently as 2010[3], and research has established that trees remove a number of pollutants from the air (including, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and harmful particulates). [4] The same study estimates that doubling the number of trees in the West Midlands alone could reduce deaths due to particulate pollution by up to 140 people per year.

With recent studies also finding links between Alzheimer’s Disease and particulate pollution reducing the amount of particulate pollution we inhale could be essential to our wellbeing.[5]

Trees Make You Happier

Trees are also really important for our mental health.

Firstly trees have numerous social benefits, including encouraging people out of their homes and into public green spaces where they interact more with others and build stronger social relationships.[6] This is especially important as recent studies have found that social isolation can actually significantly contribute to the risk of early death, potentially having as much of a negative impact on health as smoking![7]

If that wasn’t enough trees can even help to stop you getting sick in the first place. Desk workers who can see nature from their desks experience 23% less time off sick than their colleagues who could not and they also reported greater job satisfaction. [8]

Trees also help to reduce stress levels. Urban residents suffering from stress have been shown to experience less anxiety and insecurity when they can see trees and the physical signs of stress, such as higher heart rate and muscle tension are measurably reduced within three to four minutes of a stressed person being exposed to leafy green surroundings.

They also reduce noise pollution which, among other things, is a major contributor to causes of stress. Almost 67 million people in cities across Europe are exposed to daily noise levels exceeding the level at which it starts to have negative impacts on people’s health; including sleep loss, stress issues, elevated blood pressure and minor psychiatric issues. [9]

Trees Keep You Safe

Trees help to keep us safe in a number of ways, the first of which is very relevant given the recent weather conditions on much of the UK.

Trees stop flooding! 

They do this by slowing down the flow of water into our river systems, optimally placed woodland shelterbelts can reduce the peak flow of a river by up to 11%[10].
But this isn’t the only way trees keep you safe.

Importantly in the urban environment trees help to improve road safety and they do this in a number of ways. Firstly, a tree lined street gives the impression to drivers that the street is narrowing and this has the effect of encouraging drivers to slow down. Secondly, the stress reduction benefits of tress make road rage much less likely, which improves the attention of drivers and thirdly trees provide a buffer between pedestrians and traffic. [11] [12]

Some studies have even found that the presence of trees in the urban environment can reduce the likelihood of crime.[13]

Trees Make You Richer

Finally, trees help to boost the economy.

They do this by encouraging spending and increasing the value of the local area. 

Consumers in a landscaped and green area were willing to pay, on average, 11% more for goods, 50% more for convenience goods and even more for parking in those areas than they would be willing to pay in non-landscaped areas. [14]

Trees also improve house prices with several studies in the USA analyzing the effect of tree cover on the values of residential house sales and finding that the value of property in tree lined areas may be up to 6% greater than similar areas without trees. [15]

Trees Are Great!

So there you have it. Trees are pretty amazing and can have a beneficial impact on everything from your health to your wallet. Hopefully this has convinced you that you want to see a few more trees in your area.

Well unfortunately this isn’t going to happen without your help. The UK is one of the least wooded countries in the entirety of Europe and recognizing this and the benefit of trees the government committed to increase our tree coverage from 10% to 12% by 2050.
This would need the government to plant, on average, 5000 hectares of forest every year.
Last year they planted 700 hectares, not the best of starts, so I’m afraid it may be up to us!
This is where National Tree Week steps in.

How Can You Get Involved?

To quote an anonymous person “the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is now”.

It’s as simple as that, go and plant some trees.

We at CFH will be visiting local schools to plant trees, talk about trees and the environment and we will be sharing our very own book about trees called “Treesa Green Goes to School”.

There are many brilliant organisations keen to get you planting trees so why not take a look at some of the websites below and get planting!

[4] Hewitt, N, Et Al (undated) Trees and Sustainable Urban Air Quality, Research summary from
Lancaster University at
[6] Kuo, FE. (2003) “The Role of Arboriculture in a Healthy Social Ecology” [in] Journal of
Arboriculture 29(3), pp148 - 155
[8] Wolf, K, 1998(d) Urban Nature Benefits: Psycho-Social Dimensions of People and Plants,
University of Washington College of Forest Resources, Factsheet #1.
[9] Cavill, N. (Et Al) “Cycling and Health: Whats the Evidence” Cycling England.
[11] Kuo, FE and Sullivan, WC, 2001 Aggression and Violence in the Inner City - Effects of Environment via
Mental Fatigue, [in] Environment and Behavior 33(4), pp 543 – 571
[12] Wolf, K, 1998(d) Urban Nature Benefits: Psycho-Social Dimensions of People and Plants,
University of Washington College of Forest Resources, Factsheet #1.
[13] Kuo, FE and Sullivan,WC, 2001 Aggression and Violence in the Inner City - Effects of Environment via
Mental Fatigue, [in] Environment and Behavior 33(4), pp 543 - 571
[14] Wolf, K, 1998(b) Trees in Business Districts - Comparing Values of Consumers and Business, University of Washington College of Forest Resources, Factsheet #31.
[15] Wolf, K, 1998(c) Urban Forest Values: Economic Benefits of Trees in Cities, University of
Washington College of Forest Resources, Factsheet #29.